My Cancerversary

This week marks my cancerversary. There’s no hidden meaning in that it means exactly what you’re thinking. It’s one year since the day my world fell apart and the doctor said

“You have breast cancer”

I dedicate this post to friends, to the new friends I made, the doctors and nurses who looked after me, all the support on Twitter I received and my amazing family. Thank you for everything.

I wish I could recall here exactly what happened in those early weeks following being told I had aggressive cancer, but the brain is very clever and files away the worst pain and the trauma in a little drawer.

I remember being consumed with terror and feeling this deep sadness and feeling so alone in this utterly helpless and hopeless situation. I honestly wanted it all to stop and in the very early weeks I thought about ways I could end my life. ( I wrestled with putting that bit in but I have ,only because I want people to know the train wreck cancer is. It’s not to scare you either it’s so you don’t ever let someone you know feel so lonely and frightened that they feel so desperate to think those thoughts).

I could only sob and sob alone in my bedroom until I became exhausted from crying eventually passing out. I couldn’t understand why this was happening to me. I was scared of dying so young, worried what I would say if the doctors told me I was dying and how I would tell my kids?

After a while though my survival mode must have kicked in. I was over the initial shock and at this point we had a plan of treatment (which is generally the turning point for people emotionally).

I had my op then the chemo. I then lost my hair. I can’t believe I wore that fucking cold cap Jesus that was bloody torture! it didn’t even work! PAH! I went to the barber and he shaved my head as I only had a little bit of hair left and actually looked really stupid.
I tried to go without wigs and hats when I could. It was liberating. Looking back I cannot believe I walked down the street with a bald head. People were really original when I had no hair. They called me GI jane and Sinead O’connor.

People just kept saying

“you’re so brave”

But it’s not being brave it’s just instinct and keeping your head just above water. Everyone wants to survive cancer. You have the treatment and you put on your big girl shoes and deal with it. You try to remain upbeat but you have shit days. One day I recall being so angry about it all I smashed all my plates. I threw them on the kitchen floor – it felt so good! The Greeks do it for fun what’s the big deal? 🙂

Some good things happened to round off my crazy year. I finished a 3 month internship for Macmillan. I started 2 months after I finished treatment. Was I ready for it? Probably not. But I pushed through it and became stronger physically and emotionally every day.

I cannot describe the joy I get from helping people like me and my beautiful mum who sadly didn’t make it but I know she would be so proud of me today.

It’s such an amazing feeling being passionate about your work and all you do. I know now I’m leading the life I want to lead and it’s actually meaningful. I want to live a long life but I know that if its shorter than It should have been, I’ve at least given it my all and stood for something…

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